31/10/2010 10:24 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Stress Isn't To Blame For Weight Problems, Say Experts

The list of things you can blame when you're carrying a few extra pounds has just got a bit shorter. According to experts from University College London, stress doesn't have as much of an effect on your weight as previously thought. In fact, there may be little to no significant link between stress and weight gain at all.

Stress and weight may not be linked Stress and weight may not be linked. Photo: Flickr, D Sharon Pruitt

The findings have thrown a proverbial big fat cat among the pigeons, since it has long been accepted that stress is an important factor in weight gain.

For instance, think of the times you've felt under pressure and, in an attempt to cheer yourself up, you've reached for the biscuit barrel. Or those times when you've been so overworked or burdened by home or family problems, you've skipped your regular exercise class.

However the idea that stress makes you fat hasn't been scientifically proved, say the researchers, whose study appears in the journal Obesity. By analysing the results of 32 published studies on the subject, the experts concluded that most of the results show little to no association between stress and being overweight.

Of course it doesn't necessarily mean that some people don't gain weight when they're stressed, but that other people actually lose weight when they're under pressure because stress makes them lose their appetite. So when you put the two together, at least where population studies are concerned, they simply cancel each other out.

How does stress affect you (and particularly your appetite)? Do you start scoffing the minute you feel overwhelmed? Or does pressure put you off your food?

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